Peace At Last

The Personal Testimony of Patsy Owen

Thank you, God! Peace at last.

For many months I had struggled over an experience I had when I was in my 20's. I could never remember some of the most important steps that God uses to draw a person to Him in order to save that person. The main one was godly sorrow. Repentance, faith and believing were the others.

I remember having dreams of being separated from God. I remember our preacher coming to our apartment one Sunday afternoon. I remember sitting on the floor beside our sofa and asking God to save me. It seemed that I had peace after that and I thought, all these years, that I was saved.

God has been good to me all my life. From the time I was a small child, I can remember my grand-mother, Ma Coleman, rocking me and my sister while telling us stories from the Bible that she held in her hands.

The first Sunday school I can remember was at her church in Hallsville, Texas. I must have been only four or five years old then. My family did not go to church when I was young but I can remember going once in awhile with friends from school.

When I was about fourteen, we moved to a neighborhood close to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Shreveport, La. It was located on Jewella Road during the 50's. A Sunday school teacher at Emmanuel talked to us about coming to Sunday school and church. So, we started visiting there.

One Sunday morning as the invitation was given, I could see my Sunday school teacher singing in the choir and tears falling. It seemed as though she was looking directly at me. I knew she was a good Christian lady and wanted me to be saved and join the church. So, I walked down the isle and gave the preacher my hand. All I remember about that was sitting down on the front row and filling out a card. I think it was the next Sunday that I was baptized. I really loved being a part of the Sunday school class and all the group activities there. It was not long before my sister and my parents joined the church.

I met Dale Owen, my husband, on a church hayride. He was with a friend who lived across the street from me. On his sixteenth birthday, he asked me out on a date. After that, he was the main reason I went to church.

I did all the things that Sunday school classes in those days expected one to do. I read my Bible every day. I gave an offering and invited others to come. I checked off all the points on my offering envelope most every week. I studied my lessons and learned much more about God than I had ever learned before.

After I graduated from High School, Dale and I got married. Three months later, we were moving to Kansas City, Mo. We had never been away from home before so this was quite an experience and exciting time for us. After a few months, I began to be homesick and lonely.

Dale and I started going to the closest Baptist church in the neighborhood, which was Broadway Baptist Church. It was a Southern and Swedish Baptist Church. The pastor and his wife were from Chaineeville, La. I really loved them because they made me feel more at home.

Dale got involved with the music program, drama and was elected their Brotherhood President, the youngest one in the state of Missouri at that time. Needless to say, this left me at home alone much of the time. At first, I really resented the church for taking up so much of his time. That is when I decided to go with him every time he went for anything except Brotherhood meetings, of course. I met several young married couples and joined their Sunday school class because I needed friends my own age. Of course, Dale was involved in so many other things that he was seldom in class with me.

I began to go to church more. I began to feel like Bro. Elledge was preaching right at me every Sunday. I was pregnant with our first son, Tom, at this time. After Tom was born, I began to realize I was lost. I began to have dreams of being separated from God. I would wake Dale up at night crying. Finally, I told him that I thought I was lost. This was when he called the pastor to our apartment and I had the experience that I talked about earlier. For a while, I felt better about myself.

After three year in Kansas City, Mo., we moved back to Shreveport. Dale stayed with the Texas & Pacific Railroad. I stayed home to raise Tom. I was really hard on Tom. It took my sister-in-law, to wake me up to that. I remember crying and asking God to help me be more patient with him. God really had His hands full because I really had a bad temper.

I also had trouble with tithing. I was really selfish with our money. How could I have been saved and have such a bad temper and be so selfish about God's money?

Our second son, Terry, was born August 1, 1960. When he was about three, we moved to Monroe, La. Dale got involved as music and youth director at Calvary Baptist Church while he still worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. After 18 months, Dale went to work for Sun Oil Co. in Shreveport so we moved back there in 1965. It was only a short while when he got a part-time job at Blanchard Baptist Church as their music and youth director. This is where Terry and Tom joined the Baptist Church when they were six and nine years old. If you have read Terry's testimony, you know he does not remember anything about his praying to accept Jesus in his heart and walking down the isle and joining the church. The next Sunday, our oldest son, Tom did the same thing.

It was during this time that our daughter, Tammy, was born. I was so sick while I was pregnant with her that I had to stay with Dale's mother almost a month and then with my mother a few more weeks. I really did not care if I lived or not. It was only the grace of God and many prayers that kept me from killing myself. Does that sound like a saved person?

My sister had to talk to Dale and try to get him to see that he was spending so much time in church activities and work that he did not realize how much I needed him.    God was good. Dale listened to what my sister had to say and gave up some of his church activities and began to spend more time with me and the boys.

It was December 1967 that we were transferred to Tulsa, Okla. We lived there about six months before we bought a home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. We joined the Broken Arrow Baptist Church in 1968. Again, Dale gets involved in music; youth work, being a deacon, children's church, RA's and anything else they want him to do.

I was very unhappy when we first moved there. Dale and I had lots of arguments about his church work. There was a time when I believed that he would leave me if I did not quit being so jealous of him and the church. We were there eight years when Sun-Ray DX Oil Co. sold the company that Dale worked for and he was transferred to Memphis, Tenn. to work for W. R. Grace Co. It was a hard move for all of us. We had a brand new home, which we only lived in eight months. We all hated to leave friends and a place we really loved.

Dale went ahead of us and found a neighborhood and church that he thought God wanted us to move into. In 1975 we all moved to Bartlett, Tenn. and began our lives again in a new place.

When Tom graduated from High School, he went to work for Pitt Electric Co. When Terry graduated, he went to Memphis State University for one year. I felt like I needed to work to help pay his way through college. I got a job and worked until Tammy was out of school.

Terry decided to go to Blue Mountain College. He felt like God was calling him to preach. If you read his testimony, you know he preached four years before he found himself lost. When he came home and told us he was lost and was giving up his ordination papers, licenses to preach and turning down a church which was considering him for a call, we were devastated. It was like a death. We were so upset and could not understand how he could do this. After sixteen months, God saved him! God does answer prayers of lost people. Dale and I prayed for him many times even though we did not understand at the time why he couldn't just ask God to save him, give up his life and just be saved. Little did we know about how God saves people.

When Terry finally was saved and began preaching again in Pontotoc, Miss., Dale began listening to his sermons on tape while he drove to and from work. If you read Dale's testimony, you will see how Dale got saved.

When I ask Dale, "What are you going to do with what you've heard?", little did I know I would be asking myself this same question six years later. Yes, it has been six years that we have sat under the preaching of the Word at Grace Baptist Church in Pontotoc, Miss.  Salvation and how God performs it, is preached almost every service. Not only by Terry but also by any preacher that stands in the pulpit at our church.

God began to work on me about my experience that I had in my 20's. The more I examined it, the more I realized I could not remember anything really changing me in my heart. Oh, I loved God, I tried to live right but the more I heard God's Word, the more I realized I only had head knowledge and not heart knowledge.

I had questions and asked Terry but I really did not want to hear what he had to say. My pride and temper told him I did not want to discuss it anymore. But God would not let me alone. He opened my eyes and ears and heart to receive the words of the preaching. As I sat in the pew, I could see myself in every sermon. I was wanting to run and hide. I felt like an outsider looking in. Oh, how I wanted to be saved but my pride stood in my way for many months.

Finally, one Sunday while Temple was singing, I went to the altar and cried for Jesus to help me. Terry came and prayed for me. He prayed that I would find answers for my questions.

On February 11, 2001 I told Terry and the church that I was lost. The following week was the longest, saddest, depressing and heart-breaking week of my life. I felt like I had died spiritually. I still felt like an outsider but I knew in my heart I wanted to be saved and that was all I thought about.

The next Sunday morning, February 18, 2001, everything seemed the same but as Terry began to preach, I remembered something that someone had said about the good shepherd, Jesus knows his sheep and the sheep know Him. My heart began to pound so hard as Terry was preaching from John 9:1-35 about the man born blind. Then from Luke 18:8 about how Jesus is looking for faith. He talked about resting in Jesus and how God talks to you and leads you. How he is good to you so that you will come to Him. He used a chair as an example of people who believe and trust that a chair will hold them as they sit in it but that it is only head knowledge and not real until they actually sit down in it.

I was breathing so hard and I knew in my heart that Jesus was waiting on me at the altar. As soon as Terry finished, I ran and fell at the altar and cried out to God, telling Him that I needed Him and wanted Him in my life.

Terry was startled and came over and asks me if I knew for sure that I was lost? I told him, "Yes, I have known for a long time that I was lost." I heard him say something about resting in Jesus. That is what I did.  I believed he was there for me and I just rested in His arms. I believe that is when He saved me. I felt such peace that I have never known before. I could only shout, "Thank You, God!"

God is so good! He has been good to me all my life and I was to blind to see it. Amazing Grace that He saved a wretch like me.

Thank you, God! Peace at last!

Patsy Owen